The Hague

First time voter in the Netherlands (Or: Local elections tomorrow)

Tomorrow most of the Netherlands goes to the polls for local elections. This will be the first time I can vote in the Netherlands! This is because I have lived in the Netherlands for five uninterrupted years.

Here is a picture of my stempas (voting card) with personal information greyed out:

Stempas or voting pass for The Hague, 2018

The card arrived in the mail a few weeks back, automatically. In the Netherlands every person is required to register with the municipality under the Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)  or the Personal Records Database. I did that within a few days of moving to the country. It records life’s big moments – birth, marriage, divorce, and death, along with address changes. The database is used to determine who can vote for what. (In my case, I can vote for the local elections but I will never be able to vote for anything higher unless I obtain Dutch citizenship.)

There are some good sites available for voters, both in English and in Dutch. In this case, I tend to seek out information in English due to the nature of what I am reading, but I also supplement it with information in Dutch. For example, has some information and links available for expat voters.

There are, of course, various polls available to see which party matches your interests the best. For example, Stemwijzer Den Haag (knowledge of Dutch required).

Finally, here’s a look at what the ballot looks like.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

A watcher (Or: Statue at the Veenkade)

The great thing about The Hague (and the Netherlands in general) is the random artwork and statues that can be found in the city. Here was a recent photo of mine:

Statue at the Veenkade, The Hague

And here is a close up of the statue:

Close up of the statue at the Veenkade, The Hague

It is on the Veenkade, near De Bieb and the old library, before it moved to the Spui.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

Reester bunny (Or: Chocolate and eggs everywhere)

Today Marco and I went to Kelly’s Expat Shopping here in The Hague. It’s a great store for American and British food and a store I’ve blogged about before. The one thing I get almost every time is Ritz crackers. Yum! Snagged another box today…

I was quite amused by the “Reester bunny” you could buy:

Reese's chocolate bunny (Or Reester bunny)

Their Easter selection is pretty good when it comes to chocolate, I must admit. Lots of Cadbury eggs.

Pop or soda for 10 euros - 12 pack

Did you know it costs 10 euros for a 12 pack of pop/soda? And that’s a discounted price! Back home you could get it for 2/$5 during the right sale. Of course, that’s just how it goes when you’re an expat so far from home.

And here is a fun photo from the Albert Heijn XL on Elandstraat:

Chocolate easter eggs for sale at Albert Heijn XL, The HagueAnyone need any chocolate eggs? There are lots of flavors to choose from… But still, it doesn’t compare to the Reester bunny. Don’t you just want to nibble on those ears?

Categories: Food, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Screaming kids (Or: A signal that Rutte is near by)

A few weeks ago I was walking in the area of the Buitenhof (Dutch parliament). I heard a bit of (positive) screaming, as if someone had spotted a rock star. I look over but only see a group of school kids on the other side of the road (by the Buitenhof / the lake, where the red line starts). I’m on the other side, closer to Plaats/Museum de Gevangepoort.

View of the Buitenhof in The Hague, Google maps

Strange, I think to myself. I keep walking. The screaming intensifies. I look over again, and realize a few of the kids have broken from the group and are running along the water (towards the yellow star – don’t you love how I annotate a Google Maps photo?).

Obviously I know I am not the cause of their affection, so I glance around again. And then realize the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is walking about 5 meters / 15 feet in front of me. No security to be seen (it’s not like he is Wilders). Cool, I think. I debate grabbing my phone for a photo for the blog, but decide against it. That would be weird.

Now most of the kids are screaming. I see him laugh as he waves to the kids, which only increases their adoration. I remember thinking to myself at least they are smart enough not to dart off into traffic to say hi – they merely keep running on their side of the street to keep up with him.

He then cuts left and crosses the street to their side (brave man) by where the yellow star is and the statue of King Willem II. Rutte is then surrounded by a wall of kids, luckily still tall enough to be seen. He graciously allows his photo to be taken with the group, which cause a final, resounding scream of joy.

I then decide, hey, I want a picture too!

It’s hard to tell because he is wearing a black jacket, but he is at the base of the tree (you can see his face).

School children surrounding Dutch prime minister Rutte.jpg

What surprised me the most was the kids’ reaction for a politician – how happy they were to catch a glimpse of him. But it was fun to experience it.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Just a bit of snow (Or: Buitenhof in the winter)

The Netherlands has been under a cold spell recently. The wind changed direction and started coming from Siberia. No joke. There was one day with a temperature that felt like -20c (-4f). Brrr! 

But it did bring out some nice photos, including one of mine:

Snow on the Buitenhof, The Hague.jpg

I am happy to report that the wind changed direction on Sunday, so the breeze bit of snow is now gone again. Not that I have anything against snow, but this country definitely doesn’t know how to deal with it.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

End of the weekend (Or: Oh no! Watch out!)

Sign at MingleMush, the food hall I blogged about a few months back:

Sign at MingleMush in The Hague - stressed people

Loosely translated as: “Doe voorzichtig! Je gaat naar buiten waar iedereen gestrest is. Red jezelf en blijf met ons!”

Silly Mondays…

Categories: Food, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

Painted flower at Lebkov (Or: Time for some coffee)

Here’s a cute little flower at Lebkov, a café in The Hague…

Flower at Lebkov, The Hague

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

One very windy day (Or: Last week’s wind storm)

On Thursday Europe was hit with a “wind storm”, which sounds a lot wussier than it actually was. Not much rain, but it still managed to bring the country to a halt for the day. The good (or bad) news was that the peak of the storm was around 11am, which meant that most people were able to get into work. But getting home was another matter entirely…

By about 10 or 10:30am The Hague tram system was shut down. Not surprising, since about 15 minutes before the shutdown someone tweeted a photo of a tram shelter’s roof after it flew off in the wind. Two glass panels actually – the second one is behind the right tram shelter. (Here’s a look at a tram stop roof in better times.) The buses shut down about 15 minutes after the trams.

The Washington Post has an article with a collection of photos and videos from the storm (including the person flying across the plaza in Den Bosch, which every Dutch person has seen at least once now, and the guy too stubborn to let go of his bike in The Hague).

The only picture I have of the day is someone standing in the glass at a tram stop that night:

Broken glass at tram stop, The Hague


Categories: The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Bijenkorf in The Hague (Or: Holiday decorations, 2017)

I was looking through my photos from last month and realized that I hadn’t posted my photos of Bijenkorf yet!

Christmas lights Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Holiday lights (the same every year, but always pretty!)

Bijenkorf does different window decorations every year. A lot of businesses in The Hague take part in holiday window displays (see the TINK competition).

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (2)

And this one:

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (1)

This year the Christmas tree was rather simple, at least compared to previous years:

Christmas tree, Bijenkorf, The Hague 2017

It was of course as tall as ever – the base started at the top of the ground floor, with the peak reaching to floor 5. As evidenced by the escalators at the left…

Christmas ornaments, Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Check out the Coke and Diet Coke can ornaments in the upper right. I especially like the slightly ‘frosty’ look. Cute!

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Chocolate Christmas decorations (Or: Hop & Stork)

Recent photos that I took of Hop & Stork in De Passage, a covered shopping area in the heart of The Hague. The creations they can make with chocolate are just insane…

Hop and stork chocolate shop Christmas decorations, 2017 3

Dressed up and on your way to a fancy Christmas soirée…

Hop and stork chocolate shop Christmas decorations, 2017 2

Hop and stork chocolate shop Christmas decorations, 2017

Hop and stork chocolate shop Christmas decorations, 2017 4


Categories: Dordrecht, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at